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EveryBlock is a site owned by Comcast that collects and sorts local news data and hosts community conversation on a block-by-block level.

The site ran from 2008 to 2013 — owned most of that time by msnbc.com — before closing and being relaunched in 2014 by Comcast.

The site was launched in 2008 by Chicago-based journalist and developer Adrian Holovaty with a $1.1 million Knight News Challenge grant based on Holovaty’s 2005 map mashup experiment Chicagocrime.org. It initially covered New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, but now covers more than 15 U.S. cities. At its peak, EveryBlock had seven full-time staff members. Holovaty left the site in August 2012.

In August 2009, two months after its Knight grant expired, EveryBlock was bought by msnbc.com. The site was shut down abruptly in February 2013 by NBC, which had taken control of EveryBlock when NBC took full ownership of msnbc.com the previous year. NBC’s owner, Comcast, relaunched the site in January 2014 with a Chicago site. It added a Philadelphia site later that year.

The site has included information ranging from restaurant inspections to crime reports to building permits, as well as news articles and blog entries.

EveryBlock was required to make its source code public as terms of its Knight grant. It released its source code in June 2009, at the end of its grant period, though the code has not been publicly updated. The quick acquisition by a for-profit company and the decision not to update the publicly available source code raised some questions about the appropriateness of the use of the Knight funds.

In 2010, the Knight Foundation awarded several grants totaling about $500,000 to fund OpenBlock, a open source re-implementation of EveryBlock.

After its acquisition by msnbc.com, EveryBlock added local discussion boards, a partnership with the community fix-it site SeeClickFix, and a mobile version, as well as a simpler programming structure to make it easier to integrate into other news sites.

In early 2011, the site underwent its largest redesign, focusing largely on social features as well as personalization tools, such as the ability to follow particular places.

The site has been considered a leading practitioner of hyperlocal news and what is sometimes called “data journalism.” The site has also been criticized for offering data that was at times incomplete or without much context.

Video: Holovaty’s 2007 Knight News Challenge video

Video: A 2008 speech by Holovaty on EveryBlock and local data

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Oct. 16, 2015 / Justin Ellis
Did the city of New York just create a platform for hyperlocal news? — The city of New York is getting into the hyperlocal publishing business. The city recently announced it is beta testing a portal for “neighborhood-specific information to New Yorkers.” In the early phase, New...
July 22, 2014 / Joshua Benton
Is the river behind your house rising? A British Twitter bot will tell you — Here’s an interesting project from the data-oriented software developer Shoothill: GaugeMap is an interactive map with live river-level data from over 2,400 government gauges across England and Wales. From the anno...
Feb. 20, 2013 / Joshua Benton
Press Publish 7: Michael Maness on Knight Foundation’s priorities and how to ensure impact — The head of Knight's journalism initiatives talks about who it funds and how it tries to give its projects life beyond a grant's expiration date....
Feb. 8, 2013 / Mark Coddington
This Week in Review: Paywall dominoes keep falling, and Twitter keeps moving into video — Plus: The debate on aggregation do's and don'ts, the state of media reporting, and the rest of the week's news....
Feb. 7, 2013 / Mark Armstrong
Mark Armstrong: The death of EveryBlock and why I suddenly care about local — "This is all to say: I think the app or company that 'solves' local will probably be a parenting app. Not necessarily a 'local' app."...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: August 28, 2014.
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